The problem that old man John had is not dissimilar to the problem that we have as the Church in 2023.
For him it was either the influence on the church from the world and the Jews or the problem of those within the Church who were anti-Christs. Similarly our problem lies in the fact that there are those in the world and in other religious faiths who make claims about God and those who are within the Church who make similar claims but have different opinions about Jesus.
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1 John 1 v 5-7)
John puts his stake in the ground: God is light. He has already written his gospel and mentions on several occasions how Jesus is the light. But here he says God is the light and it is Jesus who told him so. We don’t have any reference in the gospels of Jesus saying this so it is either a collaboration of all the light sayings of Jesus that concludes that God is so because Jesus is God or we can simply accept that Jesus said things to the disciples that were not recorded and this one is now revealed. God is light. In John’s day whether a Jew outside the Church or an antichrist within everyone would agree with that. But what does it mean to walk in darkness? What does it mean to walk in the light? This then opens the problem about Jesus.
You see it is relatively easy to speak about God or a power behind the universe, something or someone, even a creator who created or created evolution. But you start talking about Jesus then that is when it gets interesting!
God’s incarnation in Jesus, the teachings of Jesus, the forgiveness of sins by Jesus, the applying of the death of Jesus (his blood) for the transformation of a person’s life is the determining factor of whether you walk in darkness or walk in the light. The cross and its implications on your life is central to the message of Christianity. If you fail to accept these things of Jesus then you are walking in the darkness. If you do accept them, then you are walking in the light and John states we have fellowship/koinonia with one another who are the Church that continually walks in the light of the knowledge of Jesus and continually is purified from sin because we acknowledge our need for that.
The best friend of Jesus, an old man, who had suffered much for his faith in Jesus is concerned about many claims he is hearing which mean nothing and in fact are lies. Here in 2023 we must stand for the truth:
Claiming to have fellowship/koinonia with God, to know Him, without acknowledging the cross of Jesus Christ is a lie.
Claiming to acknowledge the cross of Jesus Christ without the personal application of His blood is a lie.
Claiming to have applied the blood of Jesus yet deny the fellowship/koinonia with other followers of Jesus is a lie.